Principals’ Post #24

Virtual Learning Update

This week teachers and advisors worked to increase the number of real-time, online face-to-face sessions. These class and advisory sessions took place on Microsoft Teams which is an excellent platform for organizing groups and communicating virtually. The SCIS administrative team been using MS Teams for the last year to collaborate across our Pudong and Puxi campuses. This experience allowed us to support teachers and students in their transition to this powerful online platform. While ManageBac remains the primary communication tool for parents to communicate with students, MS Teams provides a great opportunity to connect with each other in real time during this period of virtual learning. Another great feature of MS Teams is that sessions are recorded as videos which are accessible to students to reference after the session and are available to students in difference time zones to watch if they are unable to attend. Microsoft Teams is also the primary platform we are using for meetings with parents and students as it is available to anyone with an SCIS email account. We would like to thank Mr. Johnson for his tireless efforts in supporting all of us in this transition to Virtual Learning, and particularly for his support of our teachers as we have adopted this new platform.

Ms. Williams, SCIS Librarian, meeting with Grade 11 students on MS teams earlier this week.
MS Teams allows for virtual face to face interactions and file sharing in real-time.

Week 4 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

There have been a number of changes made to our virtual learning in the past week. As mentioned above, teachers and advisors have started to hold real-time virtual sessions with students on our Microsoft Teams platform. These new sessions are in direct response to parental requests for real-time sessions for students which we received from our weekly virtual learning survey. Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Community Update from Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth (Feb. 28)

Greetings SCIS Families,

Thank you for your continued effort and support for one another in what is now the end of our fourth week of virtual learning. I am confident we all share the hope that this situation will soon draw to a close so that we may return to Shanghai, to SCIS, and once again be with our cherished community. While I, unfortunately, have received no updates from the government regarding our expected return to campus date, I provide the following information so that it may support you as we carry forward.

Parent Feedback & Survey Participation:

The SCIS leadership team and I are grateful for the thoughtful feedback you have provided regarding virtual learning. The information helped us identify two areas of focus for improvement – technology and enhanced interaction. Our admin, faculty, and IT department have and continue to work on resolving the technical concerns put forward. Additionally, we noted the comments regarding the desire to increase and enhance interaction through, for example, virtual class meetings and shared office hours, to foster more effective instruction and support the continuity of our student-teacher relationships. We remain committed to continuing our efforts to enhance, adjust, and improve our use of technology and personalized instruction based on the concerns and suggestions of our community.

Still, we know there is always room for improvement, thus we seek your feedback once again as I ask you to please participate in the parent surveys to be sent by divisional principals today. These surveys serve as our opportunity to engage with you, so please take the opportunity to comment so we may better understand what you are going through and hope to see. We are committed to reviewing every comment, suggestion, and concerns. We will learn from them and carry forward in our work to continuously improve our program of learning, support our parents, and engage our students.

Hong Kong Return to Campus Announcement:

Many of you have likely heard that Hong Kong has determined that schools will not return until April 20th. I would like to provide more context to that announcement. By declaring the April 20 Return to Campus date, the Hong Kong authorities are factoring in their extended spring holiday in early April (ranging from April 4-15 as it includes both Qing Ming & Easter holidays. SISA schools remain in constant contact with the Shanghai Education Commission, and we will update our families as soon as any confirmed communication has been shared about a potential return to campus date.

Community Communication Plan:

Beginning next Thursday, and each subsequent Thursday through to our return to campus learning, my office will send a communication to our full community. The only caveat to this communication plan will be if there is a significant announcement from the SEC, at which point I will send a special notice to all. In addition to my weekly email, you will receive your divisional principal’s weekly newsletter each Friday, and we will provide at least a weekly social media post focusing on our community’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Reminders:

  • Reminder to Review our Community FAQ Site: Please continue to review our Community Update & FAQ site. We continue to add new resources and information to the site so that it, too, serves as a source of information and support throughout these days.
  • Family Travel Itinerary Survey: As noted in previous emails, SCIS is required to support a daily update on the travel itineraries for all students, employees, and family members. We understand many of you have traveled over the past few weeks, so we ask you to please go back into this link and update your current information.

Sincerely,
Daniel Eschtruth
Director of Schools

The Yearbook Committee Wants Your Help

The following message is from the Yearbook Committee:

The Yearbook team has decided to create a section in the 2019-2020 Yearbook to document everyone’s experiences through Virtual Learning, but we need your help! We would love to see pictures of students and teachers working around the globe. Have you gotten to spend extra time with pets while you work? Are you able to go to some interesting places wherever you are in the world? Are you doing schoolwork in unique places? Are you doing schoolwork from your couch at home? We want to see it all! We would like to celebrate that our school community has remained strong while spanning the globe. We appreciate any photographic contributions that you are willing to share!        

Send photos to: PD-Yearbook@scis-china.org

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal Upper School Vice Principal

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